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Mexian pickled onions in a clear glass jar with a small fork and lime wedges.

Mexican Pickled Onions

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5 from 11 reviews


Mexican pickled onions is a delicious condiment that’s quick and easy to make. Enjoy these tangy onions on tacos, tostadas, grilled meat, hamburgers, hot dogs, tuna salad, sub sandwiches and more!


  • 1 medium red onion
  • 68 Mexican limes (same as “key limes”), depending on juiciness
  • 5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 2 twists freshly-ground black pepper
  • Sea salt, to taste


  1. Thinly slice the red onion (about 1/8 inch thick). Add slices to a glass jar, or a small glass or ceramic bowl. (Avoid using a metal container or lid, or a plastic container. Metal reacts with vinegar. Plastic absorbs odors.)
  2. Add garlic clove, oregano, bay leaf and peppercorns. Season with salt. If desired, grind a bit of black pepper over the top.
  3. Add vinegar to the jar. Squeeze lime juice over the top. With a spoon, mix the ingredients together. The liquid should completely cover the onions. If not, add a bit more vinegar and lime juice to the mixture. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap.
  4. Refrigerate 1 hour, or overnight. As the red onions marinate in the liquid, they develop a beautiful hot pink color. Before serving, adjust salt to taste.


How to give these onions a touch of heat: Add a sprinkling of red pepper flakes. Or for a spicier outcome, dial up the heat with thinly-sliced habanero peppers.

How to slightly sweeten this recipe: Some Mexican family recipes include granulated sugar or agave syrup to balance out the tang. Another option is to add a bit of honey.

How long does this condiment stay fresh? When stored in a covered container (like a mason jar) in the fridge, Mexican pickled onions can stay fresh with a good texture for up to 5 days.

  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 Minutes
  • Category: Condiments
  • Method: No-Cook
  • Cuisine: Mexican